tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 10, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
for many people in capitalist societies work is an important part of their life. and how you're treated at work and in your workday is an important part of your life. and i don't think any of us are going to deny this. so the idea we target things, be it the eitc and minimum wage, both of which i'm happy to support. let me be clear. but those are about achieving post-work income outcomes. and they're about making sure that there is a floor both of which are virtuous. but there's something to be said for making in-work outcomes better for the vast majority of people. and that that's a distink part of life and a goal worth pursuing and that may not be legislatable. there may be collective business action inspired by the peterson institute for international economics and the example of aetna or perhaps pressured through changes in the world. but either way, there may be
room to go the high road as justin says, and it's not just about how much money you get home at the end of the day, it's about how you're treated in the workplace. i think that's a part that shouldn't get lost when we talk about this. very patient. thank you very much. >> my name is jonathan pengel. i used to be a labor economist. and my question is for justin, jacob, and michael a little bit how we got where we are. when we think about the prevalence of low wages, a low-wage societyj. ez of which is related to the very low share of labor income as a share of national income damon lays out a case for why we've gotten where we are, which is some fundamental changes in workers negotiating in the wage bargain. he's talking about a lack of unionization and a substantial amount of bargaining going on outside what you would consider
normal nlrb bargaining which is an important starting point for thinking about how to solve the problem is where we are today. justin's laid out a -- we've got sort of two equilibriums and we're stuck in the suboptimal one. but i'm curious what he thinks why are we stuck in the suboptimal one and does he need to be -- how do we get out of it. i'm curious what jacob and michael think. we've had what is essentially a long-running theme in the labor literature from, you know, the declining job opportunities of older men that started to take traction in the '80s, and we've essentially just seen labor share of national income drift lower for several decades even with the very tight robust labor market of the 1990s and what was also relatively low unemployment in the 2000s. that failed to arrest it too, which makes you wonder how able we are as a society or a market economy to do it now.
>> yeah. before my colleagues respond just another plug for our briefing. in the last essay which justin did we have figure 9. i should have up this on powerpoint. sorry. it will be on the website. but you do see the downward trend that jonathan just mentioned. but then an incredible acceleration of the downward trend of labor share over recent years. so there's both pieces to it. that's part of the reason@whole cyclical argue thamt things are tightening up can only be a partial explanation. would anyone care to respond? >> i can take a quick swing at it. i think descriptively you've seen changes in labor supply and demand. on the labor demand front due primarily to automation and technology and what economists would cool the routinization of tasks. you've seen a decrease in demand for certain types of workers and firms pushing workers into the lower wage portion of their
occupational structure and away from the middle wage portion. i think globalization has also played a key role in keeping wages down. i think economists are starting to recognize that the role of globalization is actually greater than many had previously thought. those i think are the two big ones there. on the labor supply point you've seen a slowing growth in the acquisition of skills. so the college-high school wage gap is affected by that. i think kind of bringing it back to what justin said to the previous question is also important. it's that firms don't invest in workers the way they used to invest in them. and part of that is firms reacting to the fact that workers are much more mobile, they hold many more jobs over the course of their career than they used to and this kind of implicit non-legislative employment contract has frayed. and part of it i think is a relentless focus on hitting quarterly numbers that didn't used to be the case decades ago
and firms trying to cut costs by cutting worker training which in turn makes workers feel less appreciated and less likely to stay. so i think that part of the answer to your question is that we need to ask more of firms. and i agree with justin and i agree with adam that we tend to let firms off the hook. especially people in my camp. and that firms need to have a better attitude of social responsibility and recognize that they're part of a society and a big part of that is training. and public policy can make some nudges in that area and i think a really promising avenue is apprenticeships, where the government will arrange a marriage between -- or not. perhaps a community college. so not necessarily the labor department will arrange a marriage between someone trying to pursue an academic credential and a firm that wants an apprentice. you have to pay them a lot less than ten bucks an hour to make this work. but you know, trying to find
ways to nudge firms back into offering training opportunities and being better social citizens than they have been i think is part of the solution to the problem you point out. >> jacob, you've done some work for us on the apprenticeships issue that michael's raised. do you want to say anything? >> i think i agree with a lot of what michael said there. and i really do want to highlight, though the perhaps unique issue -- not unique but certainly i would argue more prevalent in the united states than in many other advanced economies, which is the role of educational expenditures, which while in the aggregate is quite high in the united states that actually masks a remarkable, you know, distributional effect there as well where everyone knows the cost of going to a top college and a top private school, et cetera et cetera. and factor that in with the very meager funding for many
community colleges and many -- the type of apprenticeships program that michael mentioned. so there is a -- i don't know if you would call it a redistributional issue involved there. but i think it's a very important issue and i think it becomes even more important when we start talking about the effects of the minimum wage. because, i mean i come from denmark where there is no minimum wage but de facto there is. enforced by essentially a consensus norm. that means that the de facto minimum wage is about $20 an hour. and the problem -- you cannot, i would argue have a system like that that doesn't produce large-scale inactivity unless you have very large expenditures on education. and that is not just education at the college level. it is actually a lot more
expenditure at the -- to the 50 to 2/3 of people that do not get a college degree or above. i mean that's essentially the essence of what does flex security mean. it means flexibility but it also means a lot of expenditure there. and i certainly think the lack thereof and significant cutbacks in the last couple of years in the united states is a very aggravating factor in this issue. >> do you want to say something? go. >> the question i asked the three of them -- >> no, no no. you can talk. >> justin agrees with michael. all right. >> but a little short because we've got -- >> i'll just observe three facts. i think we tell ourselves pretty stories in order not to talk about the actual dermterminance of
what makes wages low or high, which is questions of bargaining power. although i very much agree with what jacob said i think it's very important to note three things here. first is actually worker mobility is down. there's a whole labor economics agenda that -- around why it's down, but worker mobility is down since the 1970s. it's not an explanation for why corporations aren't investing in training. michael's second point about financialization, essentially and short-termism is more of a response. but the real response is the collapse of collective bargaining in the private sector. 9 out of 10 maybe 19 out of 20 apprentices in this country are apprentices in joint labor movement employer apprenticeship programs largely in the building trades. and in denmark the social consensus that jacob is talking about is very real but it's not something -- some vague thing in the air. something like 70%, 80% of the danish workforce is covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
it's a social consensus that's enforced. and it's part of a system that's designed to produce a high-wage economy. and that type of educational spending is critical to that system. by contrast as jacob points out, but i'll put a sharper point on it. we have 250,000 less teachers than we should have based upon pupil-teacher ratios as they stood in 2007. that's what we're actually doing. we are accelerating ourselves toward a lower and lower-wage economy. >> you've been very patient at the back, but this will have to be the last question for the session. >> barry wood, hkh in hong kong. would the panel address the question of immigration and its impact on wages? my own sense is in talking to employers across the country, is that a ready pool of largely non-english-speaking unskilled labor has put downward pressure on wages in the construction
fast food, certainly lawn services industries. >> does somebody want to summarize the literature or -- real fast? >> well, there was a boat lift in muriel. that's all i have to say. go ahead jacob. >> most of my work focuses on the high-skilled immigration issue. where i think it's fair to say that by and large the wage effects are relatively subdued. i haven't found much persuasive evidence there. but i think on lower skilled workers i think that there is quite a bit of evidence that the fact that you have -- and this is, by the way an effect you find in a number of other countries, notably in europe that if you have -- even if -- they don't even need to be in the country in fact. but if you have a latent
migratory workforce available as a corporation then there are downward prishz on wages for these types for some low-skilled workers. in the agricultural sector in the construction -- if you take a country like the uk for instance, where you have not a large illegal immigration pool of workers but you have a lot under the eu freedom of movement, you have a large population of workers typically from eastern europe that can come at very short notice that are basically available, quote unquote, on demand. and there are i think pretty compelling evidence from the uk and elsewhere in europe germany, that this does have an effect and i think some of the same issues, work. when the low-skill workforce is
actually present in the country in illegal form. the issue here is availability for the firm. >> the afl-cio is a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform. we believe that's a moral issue but we also think taking into account what jacob is saying that the worst possible thing you can do in terms of wage levels in the united states is pretend that you have closed borders but then essentially have sort of -- in a sort of subterfuge actual open borders but when the people get here we treat them as a second cast who have no legal rights. from the perspective of what would you think would be the worst possible way to do this in terms of downward wage pressure, that would be it. and that is what our members experience both documented and undocumented. that's what our members experience in the workforce. >> we're coming to the end of
this panel. i'll get to the logistics of how you get fed in a moment. i want to bring back one thing that was talked about, particularly in justin's remarks but in everybody's remarks but i think has gotten lost in the period of questions which is the keyword is productivity. it's the keyword i think in three senses. the first is when we're talking about investing in workers it's just as with investing in capital goods or infrastructure. the issue isn't simply you invest in workers to accumulate more hours. you invest in workers to get more out of them. and this is the point of the sort of dynamic view you have to take of these things. that it's not a comparative statics thing. it goes to the good and bad equilibrium question that justin raises. it's about transitioning from one to the other. and as we saw in the u.s. in the
1990s it is possible to move from one productivity equilibrium to another or now back. the second point about productivity, which goes to something that jacob and damon just said in regard to immigration, is we know that this is -- again, it's like with trade, it's immigration, it's with jobs. the issue is balancing the adjustment costs of moving people in markets to the longer run growth benefits of having more efficient markets. and that doesn't mean always that more is always better. but it means that preventing competition is always worse. so you have to figure out how to get around this. and that's the struggle where all of us in good faith are trying to figure out where the right point is on this issue. the final thing before we turn to lunch and then to mark
bertolini's speech, is that we are in a world -- and i don't want to come down politics. i don't know enough. but we're in a world where unionization in the u.s. is very low across a large range of industries. and miencey, my gut feeling is a lot of that has to do with who got elected to congress and the presidency and things they did. so in that context for those of us who care deeply about the distribution of wages one thing you can talk about is giving more power back to unions. another thing you can talk about is, well, that doesn't seem to be happening at the moment. do we have another avenue? and there again is where the productivity comes in because that's how you bribe a corporation in a sense into doing the right thing.
anyway, thank you all for joining us this morning. we will reconvene in 15 minutes for an address by mark bertolini, ceo of aetna, member of the inside stoout's board. lunch is here for those of you in reality. those of you on the web and c-span have to go feed yourselves. and another round of applause for our colleagues, justin, jacob, damon michael who did a great job today. [ applause ] >> here are some of our features programmed for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span 2's book tv saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on "afterwords," president of americans for tax reform grover norquist says that americans are tired of the irs and our tax system.
and sunday night at 8:00 author susan butler on president franklin roosevelt and soviet leader josef stalin, allies during world war ii, and their unexpected partnership beyond the war. and saturday night at 8:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span 3, on lectures in history, university of virginia's college of wise professor jennifer murray on how civil war veterans' reunions have changed from the reconstruction era to present. and sunday afternoon at 1:00, american history tv is live from appomattox courthouse national historical park, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the confederate surrender and the end of the civil war. the republican national lawyers association recently held its policy conference here in washington, d.c. the theme was executive branch overreach. coming up next, remarks from indiana congresswoman susan brooks. her comments are about 40 minutes.
>> let me start by welcoming our friends from c-span and also noting that unlike stefan my name is thomas edward wheeler. so when the new fcc commissioner was appointed i received a lot of congratulatory e-mails and wonders why barack obama would appoint me to anything. so when you google my name, you'll get him. send your complaints to him. we do have a panel on the fcc net neutrality program this afternoon with the two republican commissioners. i may join them and we would have a majority perhaps we could overturn this. when we talked about this program, it was very important to us to discuss what we saw as kind of a fundamental change in the relationship between the three branches of government. and we're seeing that. everything you see in this program. it's on the front page of the "wall street journal" every day. there's a tension going on because of what this president is doing between the executive branch the legislative branch
and the judicial branch. he seems to be willing to bypass most of those branches and do it alone, which is causing pushback. as you see in the bibi netanyahu speech, the letter that went which i suspect will be the topic of conversation of some of our speakers coming up. there's a real tension going on and we wanted to address the tension with this program and have the people in the midst of everything that's going on speak today. and that's what you've got. and particularly i'd like to do that starting with our first speaker. our first speaker is no stranger to me. it's congresswoman susan brooks. she is my congresswoman. and i'm proud to say. it is a distinct honor into the deuce her. but it's going to be out. i'm going to talk about introducing her by talking about somebody else. for those of you who know me by now, a lot of you, my son is in the military. he's an officer in the united states navy. our mutual friend susan -- [ applause ] i wasn't doing that for clapping. our mutual friend and my governor mike pence is literally at quantico today.
his son is being sworn in as a lieutenant in the united states marine corps. we get it as parents of kids in the military that there are risks that go along with that. but the one thing when we think if god forbid something happens to my kids, what i want to know what my wife wants to know, is it wasn't in vain. there was a reason for what happened and their lives weren't being given in vain. and for me that's why it's so important that susan in addition to being my congresswoman is also a member of the house select committee on benghazi. because that committee it's not -- the press is playing it as a political witch hunt. but that's not what it's about. it's about getting to the truth getting an answer for those parents. parents like me. what happened to their kids? why did they die? did they die in vain? that's all as parents of kids in the military that's all we're asking. we get tho those things may happen. we just want to know that it wasn't in vain. >> and for me that's why having
susan there is so great. susan is a united states attorney. southern district of indiana. i've watched her perform. susan knows how to get to the truth. but she's not getting to the truth as part of a political witch hunt. she gets the truth. she's doing that for the parents. she's doing that as a trained attorney and not somebody that's seeking the spotlight, not somebody that's pushing that. i suspect a lot of you probably don't know susan yet and don't know that she served on that committee. but i am confident that her years as a u.s. attorney will allow her to do what it takes to get to the truth and find out whether those people died in vain, why what happened happened that night in benghazi. and i know for a fact that susan based upon her experience as the u.s. attorney, as my u.s. attorney, she's going to do everything that it takes to get to the truth even if that goes all the way to chappaqua and hillary clinton's private server. so with that my congresswoman, my friend susan brooks.
[ applause ] >> they're all leaving me. thank you tom. good morning, everyone. great to be here. i was just going to turn to my right and left and thank -- certainly i want to thank fellow hoosier tom wheeler for introducing me. good to see you too, jim. just came in. and i also want to thank randy, your chair and kim reed, your co-chair, the entire executive committee for hosting me 24 morning. i do have a quick announcement just because of what has happened. the executive committee has asked me to make a quick announcement. i assume you're getting cles. is that a fair assessment? as a 30-year lawyer i know how important those are. but i want to make sure know attendance may be taken this afternoon if you're not present because you're watching march madness you may not get the cle
credits. you may get a little add-on to your fees. i'm just kidding. if you're going to be watching the hoosiers like i might be watching them at the airport, anyway, we hope to see you in indianapolis at the final four for any of you who might be joining us there. that's out of the way. but i do want to congratulate all of you for being a part of the 30th year, 30th anniversary as an organization. and to thank all of you for your efforts to ensure that we have fair, open and honest election process throughout the country. my own husband david brooks does election law as well. usually not at the federal level but in our hometowns and our counties and is involved in a lot of recounts and challenges and so forth. and so i know about the kind of work that you do can and certainly when i was in the justice department i learned about the kind of work you all do. i know it's often work that's done behind the scenes. it's often work that only the candidates and their families and their teams know what you
do. and so i just want to thank you for that work that you do to prepare our candidates to make sure they are in the balance. and again to make sure we have an open and fair election process. i am grateful for what you do. i'm not sure. are there any former u.s. attorneys or anyone from the justice department in the room? can i see a show of hands? okay. outstanding. it's wonderful to have you here again. and i understand that attorney general ashcroft is going to be speaking with you later today. congratulations. i was recently with the attorney general in indiana. he came and was keynote speaker at an event that i participated in. he is a treat. and he's such a powerful speaker. you are in for truly a wonderful time listening. he's such a powerful messenger. and i was very proud to be on his attorney general's advisory committee when i was a u.s. attorney. before i get to an overview as
tom asked me to give you a bit about our work on the select committee on benghazi, i actually wanted to address the theme of your conference. i understand that i'm the only house member to be addressing you today. that is because we ended the session yesterday and as most of you may or may not know we are on the first planes out of town usually. so to get back to be with our constituents, to be with families and to be in the district i happened to have had an event last night. so it was good fortune. and of course when tom asked me to be here i thought this was a very, very important group for me to come and meet and talk with you about your topic, the theme of the day. i want to outline a little bit for you, just touch on a few highlights of what the president looks like from a second-term member. so i'm still a fairly new member of congress.
however, if you're at home i guess you would say i'm actually now part of the washington establishment, so they say, but not too terribly long ago i was balancing a job. i was general counsel for ivy tech, our state's community college system. i was getting ready to send my son off to college. some of you may be getting ready to do that in the spring or the fall. so i had no never run for office before. i had not worked on the hill. i had certainly paid attention and i had come here as united states attorney for many, many meetings but i had actually never been a legislator. i had never served in the legislative body. but like you i've been an attorney, actually 30 years this year, going to be having a law school reunion in indianapolis. and our first duty as a lawyer is to defend the rule of law. i'm going to talk to you a little about the imperial presidency as a lawyer.
hopefully with facts the way i see, it not too much rhetoric. going to try to give you the facts and what i'm dealing with. i do feel passionately about this issue. and this is not what i thought it was going to be like when i got here. like many members of congress both republican and democrat we ran for office because we wanted to make a difference. we wanted to be a voice for our constituents. but i had another reason to run and that is because at the time i was running i am the mom of an 18 and a 21-year-old at the time that i was running and in talking with them and a lot of their young friends, young adults, high school and college kids they truly have lost faith in our system. they had lost faith in government. so i wanted to restore some faith in our government. and particularly, quite honestly, the faith that our
young people, i wanted to restore for them because they certainly are our future. and we always talk about them being our future. but i thought something needed to be done. and they actually shared with me and many of them did, that they were tired of the gridlock in washington, d.c. they thought it was incredibly dysfunctional. they thought we needed more bipartisanship. so i talked with a lot of young people and i explained that i would give that my best shot and that i do give that my best shot. but it wasn't just disheartening -- it was a bit depressing, quite honestly, to talk with young people. and if you talk with young people about what their views are of government, i think you will find very much the same type of opinions that i found. they've really given up. so when i ran i ran in 2012 it is the post stimulus it had already passed. post obamacare. that had already passed.
when i was running in 2012, all of us particularly in this room, had high hopes that mitt romney was going to be our president, that i was going to be coming into a republican-led house with a new leader in place. but i knew even then that it was going to be we knew it was going to be tough to win the senate. so i even knew then in order to get anything done we'd have to reach across the aisle. and i tell kids there really is an aisle in the house chamber. you actually do have to walk across the aisle to go talk with people on the other side. people are very surprised to see that and to understand that's what it is. but of course when i got to washington the president was elected again, president obama and i was given an opportunity to work across the aisle early on. both he and the vice president pushed that they wanted to renew the violence against women act. and that was one of the first
big votes that we worked on when we came into congress in 2013. for a lot of reasons, there were some jurisdictional reasons but some republicans were opposed to the renewal in large part because there was some language that caused issues on jurisdiction. i wasn't one of those that necessarily agreed. i thought that's wa the most important part. i'm a former deputy mayor in indianapolis responsible for public safety. i'd been on too many ride-alongs with police officers who were called on domestic violence called and i know how serious of a problem that is in the country. and i felt strongly if i didn't pass the violence against women act that the republicans would be to blame. and that could reverberate with law enforcement, with victims groups, with many organizations. so i worked hard to convince some of my republicans to get onto the bill, and i changed a few minds, and i was proud that when violence against women act was brought up it did pass in a
bipartisan way. so i thought, okay. and granted, we didn't get all republicans on the bill but i thought it was a way forward. it was a tough issue. there were some tough issues to deal with. but i thought it was a way to show that we could govern. but over the next several months the white house just really became closed off. white house legislative staff rarely reached out to members of congress and still rarely reaches out to individual members of congress unless they're in leadership. so if you're not in leadership, you don't get the call. we rarely get as past presidents have assigned legislative folks to take different members and to be our liaiseons. we may have one in name, but we rarely see or hear from the white house on any legislative matters. most of my house colleagues have never spoken to the president in a meeting or otherwise.
very very few. or have ever been invited to the white house for hardly anything. i've been to the white house one time for any serious policy issue. it was incoming freshmen -- or freshmen were invite edd to sit down with his chief of staff dennis mcdonagh to talk about syria. but other than the holiday party we're all invited to and which i do think is an important event for republicans and democrats to come together and to be together during the holidays, it's truly the only conversation or often the only time we see the president. which i think is very, very unfortunate. in his 2014 state of the union the president came to congress and on the floor of the house told us he'd go it alone "wherever and whenever i can take steps without legislation." end of quote. in this year's state of the
union you probably despite the fact his party had been resoundingly defeated in the polls president obama made essentially the same threat. now, i'm not sure what would happen if i were ever invited to the oval office and accepted the invitation to go visit with the president and simply told the president that we were going to completely ignore him. i don't believe that would endear us to a relationship or begin to create a relationship. but quite frankly, i was offended and was very disappointed quite frankly that the leader of our country and that the leader of someone who should be leading the house and the senate and bringing us together to work on our country's most significant issues was essentially just telling us he was going to go it alone, and we've seen that. many of my colleagues, including some democrats who have said to us privately that they had more
interaction with the president and his administration when they were members of their state houses than when they are in the house of representatives. so in many ways while it might seem that maybe we shouldn't have a one on one or regular dialogue with the president, if you think about it, though he is not listening to us. he is not listening to our leadership. he has taken away our voice. but it's not just my voice. it's not individual constituents' voices. or it is the voice of the 731,000 people i represent. most members of congress represent over 700,000 people. and so -- now, we have plenty of opportunities to have a voice. this is one of those places where we have a voice, and we have a voice when we are at home or when we are speaking on media. but when you think about the white house not listening to the house, the house of representatives, he is taking
away their voice. i think also taking away the millions of voice that's quite frankly there were nine states across the country who replaced democrat senators with republicans. nine. and so those are voices of those states that need to be heard. one midwestern newspaper explained why the president's actions are wrong. its editors wrote, "there is no constitutional provision allowing a president to assume absolute power when he doesn't get his way." president obama points to his election as the source of his authority to act unilaterally. i'm sure you've all heard that. but as this paper said, each member of congress won an election too. the newspaper's right. i think the president's actions are wrong. he always points to elections as mandates. and that his election and
re-election was a mandate. but yet look at our majorities. we won the house resoundingly and we won the senate. now, not -- with enough votes to be, you noeknow -- to be vetoproof certainly or to get to some of the critical debates we need to have. but we have manned naits from those who've elected us. a few of the things i want to share with you as to how i think the president has overstepped his authority and,000 he's ignored the house. we'll first start with the affordable care act. probably i've gotten more calls from constituents on any issue it's the affordable care act. and the white house, as you all know unilaterally changed the law in ways that essentially rewrite it. so indeed as you probably know the administration has changed the law that was passed over 47 different times. in 2010 before i arrived in
washington the democrat-led congress passed the affordable care act on a complete partisan basis and it clearly stated that businesses had to comply with the employer mandate by january 1, 2014. faced with the reality of that mandate, many employers cut jobs and cut hours. the white house saw what was happening. the white house moved the date back. perhaps the law should have set a much later date but it did not. the law had a date very specifically in the law. but that's not the provision they passed. the provision they passed was january 2014. and we have voted to repeal -- yes, we have taken many votes to repeal that employer mandate. and i'd do so again. but when you receive letters and calls from constituents and then we're home and we see them the zionsville school corporation where tom lives wrote and told
us they were forced to cut substitute teacher hours teacher assistants for special needs kids coaches and awful these things to get to under 30 hours. because they were all part-time workers. one school official said and asked whether or not the white house thought about the seventh and eighth-grade basketball players or those special needs kids that needed those workers when it pushed through this law. and i have to tell you, that's just one little story among stories upon stories upon stories that we as members of congress all have heard and all have listened to. and so the challenge for us is with when the licht winds shift and when the president has realized how the law is going to impact people, they have unilaterally changed it. on their own. so we believe that should be done through the legislative process. and you all as lawyers know that better than most that if the
law is wrong if the law is not right we need to change it. and so we were compelled to respond to the president's unilateral action and last summer we voted to challenge his actions through a lawsuit. my first time. i hope my last but may not be the last, that i voted for a lawsuit and in november we filed united states house of representatives versus brewell. it was filed in the d.c. district court and is now as you know making its way through the courts. it is our duty to defend the u.s. constitution. we all take ocean. we take the same oath to defend the constitution. congress writes the laws. executive branch is supposed to enforce the laws, not create them on their own. also another place where the president has exceeded his authority and i'm sure you're going to hear about this time and time again today. is through the rulemaking process. as you may know, the house has voted multiple times, and i'm
not going to go through all of the times we've voted to overturn some of the white house's rules. one regulation many of you have maybe heard about is the epa's waters of the u.s. rule. or sometimes referred to here as wodus, an acronym only washington, d.c. can make up. but it expands the federal hours of the epa under the clean water act. and the house voted last year to stop it but the senate under leader reid didn't act. so both republicans and many democrats actually oppose this rule because for instance the president of the farm bureau said it's the biggest federal land grab we've seen to date and it literally gives the president the authority to regulate the puddles on farm fields across the country. and one farmer in my district, a great farmer, third generation farmer george katasoulev
brought me a picture and showed me a puddle on one of his farms some of his acres after a flood and said this is what the epa -- what we may have to get permits what the epa could regulate under this rule. this is going to drain very quickly. we just had a big spring rain. but now they are very concerned as to how this is going to happen, how it's going to be implemented. and i have to tell you, epa administrator gina mccarthy just apologize ed apologized for her agency's failure to reach out to farmers at a national farmers union conference in kansas and just this week i believe she said, and i quote, "i really really really wish we had talked to you you." okay? well, they aren't talking to constituents. they aren't talking to the people. we submitted many, many letters of opposition. farmers mobilized. shopping mall owners organized.
anyone that has a surface lot organized and wrote letters and they are not listening. i really wish we hadthey had talked to them as well. sought president -- and this is one last area i'm going to mention about overreach. but it's probably one of the hottest issues right now. and as you know, the president has gone around congress when it comes to gramgs.immigration. i understand the frustration with the current system. the current system is broken. i hear that from constituents all the time, with the biggest issue to begin with why can't we secure our borders, why can't we secure or borders and why can't washington get this done to start with? and we need to start with that. but there are other things wrong with our immigration system and we all need to acknowledge it. but it's up to congress to work through both sides of the aisle and figure that out. and if we don't figure it out quite frankly we'll be in the same place 20 years later, and
that's what people have been saying to us. but signing executive orders like the president just did is just one part of the immigration problem. and then the president sets us back. and speaker boehner shared that with him. don't do things like executive orders on immigration when we begin to have the dialogue and discussion of what parts we can fix piece by piece by piece. and so it sent the exact wrong message and it said to congress i'm not going to wait on you, i'm not going to let you do what your constitutional duty is, is to fix this and i'm going to go around you. and so i applaud i believe 26 states have challenged the president on what he did on his latest action and they have actually blocked his order in a texas district court. so there is a victory. the president's latest immigration executive action order, there's a preliminary injunction inly. and as you all know, it will be
working its way through the courts. but not only does it send a bad signal, it inflames both sides and i think sadly that is what we've seen time and time again. when he signs an order even as our leaders might want to be working toward a resolution on some difficult issues because that's what governing is about the president has stepped in has done something that then inflames both sides and pushes the body further apart. so the last issue i just want to mention that i think both sides of the aisle were up in arms on is when the president traded the taliban guantanamo bay detainees for sergeant bowe bergdahl without notifying congress. and those discussions had actually -- i have to tell you, earlier this year you probably know that even one of the five detainees is already reported to have returned to the battlefield with the terrorists. and in briefings in classified briefings, democrats and republicans angrily asked the
administration why they did that. and so i will tell you it was not a partisan issue. both sides of the aisle were insisting to know what the president's administration thought when they did that. and how they could go around congress and not consult and talk with members of the appropriate committees before that swap was made. i think the u.s. is less safe today because of this type of overreach. the country's less safe because of this swap. i have to tell you the president has taken all these actions despite -- he's told the american people, as many you have know. has said he wouldn't do it. in fact, when i sat down to think about i was going to use some of his remarks as to how many times he said he wouldn't act like this but quite frankly it would take me another half hour to go through all of the times. and you all know how to use electionlexisnexis and can google.
and i must tell you there are so many times the president actually said himself he wasn't king or emperor and wouldn't write the laws himself. but i will tell you he did, when he ran in 2008, he actually said he was opposed to executive overreach very specifically. but since being elected, when it's politically convenient, he makes the changes through the executive action. and that is exactly what he said he would not do throughout his first campaign and even since that first campaign. he once said democracy is hard but it's right. he said, "changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes one by one." now, let me tell you. from a lot of rank-and-file republicans republicans, the president is not, as i said earlier, changing our minds one by one. he is not picking up the phone or having his staff picking up
the phone and trying to change our minds and trying to influence our votes. just so future leaders wouldn't have that temptation to grab too much power. but i think unfortunately president obama has forgotten that. he is on the path to grab more power and to exert that power. but i have to tell you one place where he has i think given up the power, where he has abdicated power where we need stronger leadership, is his refusal to adhere to the red lines on syria. his refusal to meet with prime minister nent neu when he came to visit us. his allowing iran to expand power in the middle east. allowing russia to go unchecked in the ukraine. failing to strike at isis when iraqi leaders asked for more support.
and now look what is happening with isis in iraq. and then the tragedy in benghazi. and the tragedy in benghazi, it's obviously clear that there are too many unanswered questions. and i'm proud to be one of the seven republicans answering those questions. and there are five democrats also answering questions. because there are still questions left to be answered. we are working hard to provide a comprehensive picture of what happened before, during, and after the attacks. and because at the end of the day as tom said we need to make sure that when we have american personnel stationed in dangerous places all around the globe, whether the military the diplomatic corps we need to make sure we have all the plans in place possible to rescue them and save them if they should come into harm's way. we need to try to ensure we don't have ambassadors die in the future and that teams who
are there to protect them and work with them do not die in the future. and so we have been working hard to that end. and we've met with family members like tom just mentioned. we've met with family members of the died to see what we could learn from them, what they knew before their family members were so tragically killed, what questions they have about the incidents. we didn't do this in front of the press. we didn't make it a big press event because it's not. it is something that is so horribly tragic in their lives that they are still experiencing that we wanted to honor and respect their privacy. we wanted to hear from them and ask those questions in a private setting. we are working. we are continuing. we held classified briefings in the fbi who is overseeing obviously the prosecution and the investigation of those who committed these crimes. we saw the surveillance footage of the attacks that night.
we have requests rounds of interviews with top level officials at the state department who were never interviewed before never interviewed, not allowed, not interviewed by past committees not that the other committees didn't ask but weren't brought before other committees. we are not interviewed by the accountability review board that the state department had within a couple of months right after the attack. many top level officials were never interviewed. we plan to interview former chief of staff leon pan eta. we plan to ask questions of national security adviser susan rice. we are also right now in the process of interviewing diplomatic security officers who were on the ground in libya for months before the attack and were even talking to survivors of the attack. many of these people have never been interviewed before.
we're not doing that all out in the public eye because some of what they are sharing with us is classified, much is not classified. eventually we will bring those back forth in a comprehensive report. i am encouraged we were getting access to new witnesses and we have also obtained over 15,000 pages of documents that were never given to other committees in the past. i'm sure you are wondering about the issue of the last couple of weeks and that's the e-mail issue. the e-mail issue was uncovered by the select committee. and as i said in the weekly republican address this past week e-mails regarding state department business even if they were run through a private server at hillary clinton's home rightfully belong to the american people. [ applause ] thank you. they don't belong to secretary
clinton. of course, her personal e-mails do but not her state department e-mails, not her work related e-mails. not government related e-mails and don't belong to the obama administration. they belong to the american people. in february the state department revealed to us the committee for the first time that secretary clinton used only a personal e-mail system during her time at the state department. previous committees had not uncovered that. not that they had not asked. work has been going on on this since 2012. many committees did fine work and asked the state department many questions. at no point until then despite extensive negotiation with the state department over the past eight months because our committee was stood up in the summer never did the state department reveal that the department was not in possession
of the secretary's e-mails or that the secretary used only a private e-mail to conduct agency business, never. for all that period of time that we were negotiating with state department lawyers and talking about what we needed to move this investigation forward they never shared with us that they didn't have her e-mails. on march 4 the select committee issued subpoenas for all of secretary clinton's communications related to libya. in the q&a session about six days later secretary clinton said she didn't want to be burdened by two phones and that she chose not to keep thousands of e-mails. now, i worry about these deleted e-mails not only because i worry whether or not the select committee has access to the information the american people deserve. i worry because it sets a very dangerous precedent for government officials. the rules should apply to all
government officials even if they don't want to be burdened with two cell phones. as you know many many people have two cell phones or many people use one cell phone and have two different accounts. there is dot gov accounts. the chairman said about the e-mails secretary clinton alone created this predicament but she alone does not get to determine the outcome. i think she would like that, she alone to determine the outcome of the issue. he is right. in our view secretary clinton should turn her server over to a neutral third party arbiter who can adequately determine which e-mails were work related. turn it over to a third party the inspector general, who reports to the president, not to the secretary.
turn it over to a retired federal judge. turn it over to an independent third party that i believe we could come to agreement with both parties to determine which e-mails were work related skpd which were personal. we believe it is reasonable. the select committee will continue to work and get to the bottom of what happened on september 11. we will work hard in the house of representatives to continue to preserve the balance of power our founders envisioned. our constitutional system what you work on behalf of day in and day out is what makes this country safe and great. we must defend it at every turn. it will restore those young adults and the next generation in washington. we need the house to take this responsibility now more than ever. i'm proud to be a part of the house that is doing that, but the president needs to give us our voice. the voice where most of us are
representing over 700,000. i'm hopeful with the unified republican house and senate we have more opportunity to do so. what a perfect timing as i talk about a unified republican house and senate i want to thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you all. >> thank you. i assume there is no time for q&a. >> up to you guys. >> want to take one or two? >> one or two? any? >> we have a microphone in the back. we are waiting for a microphone.
i can repeat the question. >> secretary clinton [ inaudible ] she then took extra measures like e-mails supplying if and bad rebels with heavy weapons with taxpayer money. what about the idea that those e-mails and the arms shipments kind of portrayed an attitude of running her own secret war? >> thank you for that question. the reason -- without getting into -- the one thing that the committee worked very hard to do and that is why we did not release as soon as we found out that secretary clinton used a private e-mail we actually learned that several months ago. if you are conducting a thoroughfare investigation which
is what chairman goudy and what the committee is trying to do, we are not leaking information. we are not putting information out to the public about anything that we are finding out during the investigation. but i appreciate the question. and we encourage questions to continue to come to us because those are the answers that we hope to provide in the comprehensive report when we finally get that forward. those are all the types of questions that we will be that we are searching for answers for but with respect to what we are learning during the investigation i'm sorry i'm just not in a position to say. for those of you who have done long term investigations we have yet to have the questions of the secretary because as you also know in doing an investigation i have been involved in many you don't bring in a witness for questioning until you have the documents, until you have the e-mails and the communications upon which to ask questions from. and so we have to obtain those
and that's why we must have the state department and the secretary's cooperation. i'm sure she would like to get in and talk with us as soon as she possibly can. >> i'm going to apologize. i'm on a real tight schedule on c-span. >> enjoy your day. all this week we have been featuring american history tv in primetime. tonight the c-span cities tour begins with austin, texas followed by a visit to wheeling west virginia and north carolina. later galveston, texas all ahead here on c-span 3. here are featured programs for this weekend on c-span 2's book tv saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern president of americans for tax reform says that